Thursday, February 17, 2005

Blogger's Block

I've been working on my 4C's presentation and am turning and turning in a widening pit of frustration, which is my usual m.o. for such things. I seem to need to work through a series of questions before I can get started on what I need to do.
Questions: Why did I offer to do this?
What was I thinking?
Who would want to listen to what I have to say?
What could I possibly have to say that won't already have been said by my partners and blogging's own eminences grises, jocalo and Styles?

Well, that's why god created therapists.

The other block I bring to any writing activity is that once I've learned something to my satisfaction, I am incredibly impatient about explaining it to other people. Unless I'm teaching.


Here's what I've been thinking, in a non-linear fashion:

1. Blogs are associational--with whom have I associated and why?
A. Keep up with theor(ies)
B. Be mentored
C. Mentor
D. Network all over academe-up ,down and sideways.

2. What's in it for other mid -career teachers who are not on the cutting edge but still on the blade?
A. Use another form of writing
B. That is not classroom dependent
C. Learn to blog and you too can have a blog of your own
D. Because it's so darn easy--unlike the bazillion web pages I have begun and abandoned over the years.

3. What I've done this year with blogs (here's where I get impatient--would it be like showing vacation slides at a dinner party?)
A. Can I create a powerpoint that would show everyone's banners?
B. Oh, okay. How would I do that?
C. Would it make a good and not boring ppt?

4. Theory. Ain't got one. Haven't got anything to problematize. Feel like an academic fraud. Is there room for a pragmatic academic?

5. What's in all this for me? What do I get out of blogging that I wouldn't get from visiting colleagues on campus?
A. Many of my colleagues have different schedules than I do--I'm not going to sit around for a few hours waiting to talk, nor would they--they've got family care and teaching loads to deal with. So do I.
B. So, blogs are a place where I can post an idea and get feedback (like right now, let's say).
C. Why don't I just pick up the phone and call my colleagues?
D. Ummm. good question. I'm in a rut.
E. Different quality of blogging discussion--time to think about posts, people's responses etc. In a f2f, we are always so busy that we don't get beyond the here and now (usually)
F. Widens network--blogging helps me see what goes on at other cc's and 4yr and universities. I've already said that. And why do I assume that my MC peers don't read the blog?

So, if you have questions, advice, patience or a good bottle of wine that you'd like to share, please do.

Thanks much for reading this long post.



At 2:41 PM, Blogger Styles said...

I'd suggest, if you could afford it, a good bottle of Puligny-Montrachet -- not, of course, that I can.

At 3:51 PM, Blogger clc said...

I always do the "Why did I say I'd do this?" thing ;-)

I think I would have a really hard time theorizing about blogging because it's become so important emotionally to me. When I try to distance myself from it, I only come up with what you've said already in your outline: the way it has enabled connections between people who otherwise would never have "met" and exchanged ideas, provided support, made each other laugh. Beyond that, what would I say? I can't live without blogging? (which I think is the absolute truth, but not terribly scholarly).

At 4:29 PM, Blogger timna said...

I think your post almost makes me want to go to CCCC. That and John was talking about a presentation on blogging (is it one and the same panel?).

Blogging for me professionally has given me ideas and balance. John's posts on the 9/11 Commission directly influenced my comp syllabus. I think that knowing he was using it helped me have the courage to use it. I know, a funny word, but since no one on my hallway was doing anything with the rhetoric of the report, and I'm an adjunct, I think that blogging directly reinforced my sense that this was important to take on.

At 5:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the words of support, clc, timna and Styles (okay--spirited support, S?)It means a lot to me. I do have a few diva moments before I settle down and work, and, this is the first time I've given a presentation that wasn't based on something already written or something that I would hands-on demonstrate to other teachers. I need to think about who my audience is--I suspect there will be a mix of people, not just everyone on the blogroll or the Tech-Rhet list. I'm going to aim at the middle and at people like myself, who are curious novices about blogging, period, as well as blogging as a teaching tool.
"I yam what I yam," as Popeye would say.

And I feel like this presentation is a prelude to more analytic work to be done about blogs.

And yes, Timna, John (jocalo), Styles and I will be presenting together at the 4C's. Someday it would be interesting to create a chart of all of the teachers who have gotten ideas from jocalo (or the blogs).
Thanks again for your thoughtful responses.

At 3:10 AM, Blogger jocalo said...

Hi Rosa and Styles: Guess we can start coordinating our panel here.

Whatever else each of us decides to focus on, I think including a short narrative of how we came to blogging--and then how we found each other--would be of interest.

I think it's right to assume the audience will include some experienced bloggers and some newbies who are curious, so including some element that tells how we each started would be a way of connecting with newbies--and might be of interest to the veterans, too.

We oughta find a way to convince Cindy to come to SF. That would really complete the two-year college picture.

And why don't you guys email me so I know when you get into town. We might have time for a pre-session meeting. I'll be staying in my brother's condo in Mission Bay.

At 2:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I'm all for getting clc to SF, if she wants to come. Where would we get the funding?
Rosa Joanna

At 4:05 PM, Blogger clc said...

Oh, folks, I would love to be coming this year! But I actually can't because of a campaign I am involved in (I'll say more in a few days, once the news is out).

But next year, let's do it. We could do something specifically focused on CC English perhaps. . .

I know you all are going to represent the two-year blogging community with verve and style(s) ;-)

At 5:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know who style is, but which one of us is verve?

At 2:44 PM, Blogger clc said...

You and John will just have to fight it out!

At 3:19 PM, Blogger jocalo said...

I actually have a former student whose email handle is lucidverve. However, it's clear to me that Rosa is verve. I'm happy to be the comma between styles and verve.

At 9:37 AM, Blogger Nick said...

Here's a question . . .

You list a lot of things blogs are good for:

*associating; *mentoring; *networking; *ease of use; *keeping in touch asychronously, and so on.

But other computer mediated technologies allow this: email, email dicussion lists, bulletin boards, real-time discussions (though like a phone call or office doorway chats, all parties involved have to be in the same chatspace at the same chattime), WWW pages ( functions as some blogs do in purpose --annotated links, but with a basic WWW page technology), and so on.

So the question I'd love to know after reading this post is not a theoretical one, or a practical one, but an empathetic one, inspired by clc's oberservation that she can't distance herself from her blogging to look at it dispassionately because "it's become so important emotionally" to her.

I guess I see from your post that blogging has some similar import to you. But why *this* particular technology and not some of those which came before it? What about how you blog and when and why makes it such an important part of your professional life?

How does the technology of it all change the texture of the words you write and therefore the professional face you present to those who read your blog?

At 1:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you, Nick. These are excellent ideas to chew on in the next few weeks. I think the empathic value comes from being able to create a space that is my own in cyberspace. Kind of like a cyberdoor, so to speak. I can write about what I want to, either here or over at my other blog (2 Board Alley), and like my office door (currently bare--another long story), people can read and comment or read and walk away.

That's only half of it, though. Unlike door readers, I'm more likely to strike up a cyber- relationship with a group of people who get to know me and my quirks and with whom I can have a good extended chat.
I don't know why it feels different from email groups, but it does. Perhaps because when I blog here at CCE, I'm aware that my audience isn't as focussed on a single topic as a mail group would be. In both cases, the readers tend to be from all kinds of ed. institutions. So? Hmmmm. You've given me something to chew on this week.

Thanks, Joannarosa

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